RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
A TEASPOON OF TROUBLE by Shirley Jump is the first in The Bachelor Bake-Off series all set in Marietta, Montana and written by various authors. This is both a funny and heartbreaking contemporary romance that is an enjoyable read.
Carolyn Hanson left small town Marietta and her high school boyfriend in her rear view mirror after graduation for her dream of being a top chef in NYC. For ten years she is singularly focused and is about to realize her dream and be named the sous chef of a trendy Manhattan restaurant when she gets the call that her sister and husband where killed in a car crash. What she finds completely surprising is that her sister named her the guardian of her 4 year old niece, Emma and her puppy, Roscoe. She returns to her hometown hoping her parents will take Emma, but they are devastated with grief and barely functioning.
Matthew West has stayed and flourished in his home town of Marietta as a small animal veterinarian. When a beloved first responder is killed, the town proposes a Bachelor Bake-Off to raise funds to build a Boys & Girls club in his memory. Matthew enters to help, but he can barely boil water let alone bake. He is shocked when his old girlfriend walks into his clinic with a little girl and puppy in tow.
Carolyn and Matthew make a deal. They will swap their talents to help the other out for the time Carolyn is in town. Carolyn will teach Matthew how to bake and Matthew will teach Carolyn how to train Roscoe. When the old sparks start to fly, Matthew begins to hope that Carolyn will stay in Marietta to raise Emma and be a part of his life again.
I laughed as much as I teared up while reading this story. It is well balanced between fun with the dogs, Emma and learning to bake with the grief Carolyn and her family were dealing with, not always well. At first, Carolyn came across as self-centered, but when you learn more of her fears and grief, you begin to empathize with her and watch the growth of her and Emma’s relationship. I felt the author handled the scenes where the family dealt with their grief were realistically written. This second chance story leaves you with a HEA smile and is well worth your reading time.
Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.